Category Archives: Military

On the first day

On Friday Jonathan Freedland published an article on the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/01/disaster-texas-america-britain-yemen), the article is excellent. He is speaking his mind and rightly so. All the facts are correct and he is not playing some word game. Like other stuff he wrote top notch. Yet, I oppose him. Why?

Well, we can go from “it surely represents the most fundamental form of discrimination one can imagine: deeming the lives of one group of people to be worth less than those of another – worth less coverage, less attention, less sympathy, less sorrow“, he is right and it would be easy to just blame the media, like I have done on several occasions in the past. Yet the quote “The scale of the suffering in the Arab world’s poorest country is clear. Since it became the site of a proxy war in March 2015, 10,000 people have been killed, with 7 million made homeless. The UN is especially anxious about cholera, which has already killed 2,000 people and infected more than 540,000. It threatens to become an epidemic. That’s no surprise, given that sewage plants have been among the infrastructure bombed from the sky“. This is followed by “On the contrary, the Saudi government is armed to the hilt with weapons supplied by the UK and the US: £3.3bn worth of British firepower in the first year of this vicious war alone. And yet Yemen has barely registered in the western consciousness, let alone stirred the western conscience“. These two matters are merely the top of the iceberg. When we go back to 1957, we get the attempted assassination by MI6 and what was then laughingly known as the CIA. They fail. All British and French assets are nationalised. The UK intervention in early peace processes between Israel and Egypt. Iran 1953, we might see two sides in the story, one side is that US interventions caused the creation of the Islamic revolution and the blood baths that came afterwards. Is this the correct version? There are too many events involved, but it is a given certain that the events followed. It is merely a factor in a sea of events. Sudan 1998, here the Clinton Administration justified the attack by falsely claiming that it was a chemical weapons factory controlled by Osama bin Laden. Though the United States blocked the United Nations from investigating, independent reports leave little doubt that the plant was solely used for civilian medical items and there was no connection with the exiled Saudi terrorist. All speculations go out of the window; I find it interesting how it was the US that stopped the investigation. Equally the Obama administration refused to properly investigate the chemical attacks in Syria, willing to accept half-baked excuses, unwilling to get to the bottom of it all. This all is now starting to give us a pattern that related to the story.

So when we see “warnings that Yemen risks becoming the next Syria: its soil soaked in blood, rendered fertile for the next generation of violent jihadists” as well as “the children of Yemen are dying cruel deaths, while the rest of the world ignores them. They are not drowning in Texas or Mumbai. They are dying under a hot desert sun, killed by our allies – and by our inattention“, Jonathan is speaking the truth, yet I oppose!

You see, when we see in addition to the previous parts: “The collapse of leftist and nationalist Lebanese forces as a result of the U.S. intervention and the U.S.-backed Israeli invasion led to a power vacuum filled by extremist Islamic groups from below and an overbearing presence of the anti-American Syrian government from above. Combined with resentment at the enormous human costs of these interventions, Lebanon has turned from a staunchly pro-Western country to a center of anti-American sentiments“. Now, we must be honest in that when a glass is half full, it is equally half empty, so we can focus on one side or the other side. Yet the overbearing knowledge from the past is that the UK and US have been in a war for control. Either they were or no one else was. This is the setting we have seen for decades. As such we need to be aware of the ‘other’ side of the equation, but in my view the interventions of decades have been nothing but a failure and soon we will see that US and UK public opinion will shift against Saudi Arabia, merely because any long term success they book now will be counterproductive to anything these two players are trying to achieve. The UN has been privy and part of it to some extent. We could focus on resolution 425, when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1978, later it did it again in 1982, I personally remember those days, I was in Israel when it happened. The interesting part was that the acts of the terrorist organisation and their movements were largely ignored by the UN and certain other officials, as well as the press. The report from Director Nahum Admoni of Mossad in 1983, who was seen as the ‘bad boy’ as the British press got a whiff of the Israeli nuclear plan, yet the fact that the Jonathan Pollard debacle where “Pollard was the only American who has received a life sentence for passing classified information to an ally of the U.S. In defense of his actions, Pollard declared that he committed espionage only because “the American intelligence establishment collectively endangered Israel’s security by withholding crucial information”. Israeli officials, American-Israeli activist groups, and some American politicians who saw his punishment as unfair lobbied continually for reduction or commutation of his sentence. The Israeli government acknowledged a portion of its role in Pollard’s espionage in 1987, and issued a formal apology to the U.S., but did not admit to paying him until 1998“, He was eventually released on Released November 20, 2015, after 28 years. Beyond that he had been denied basic rights between 19:00 and 07:00 every day since. In this we can draw two conclusions, not only that this involved a case with what the US calls ‘an ally’, it gives rise that on one side actual traitors have way more rights and that those actually in assault of the US like Bradley Manning, served less than 4 years and Edward Snowden who is still not in prison, not prosecuted or convicted. So either we can go all out and see how weird the US system is, or we can accept that the US (and UK) have been playing a very dangerous game in the middle east and anyone interfering there is locked up for life. So this is not about espionage, it is not about terrorism, it is about holding part of the power of the middle east, and so far the USA and the UK have shown just how illusionary it is to be involved in matters in the Middle East. Even if we start to consider the damage caused and inflicted, the game goes on there.

So on the first day of September Jonathan correctly shows us how little the media and all others care about Yemen, whilst in the same air partially ignores that Yemen is not even a player for the power plays on who has the right to speak at the power table of the Middle East. Both the USA and the UK want to have a permanent seat at that table and anything opposing that will be dealt with or ignored. By the way, when we look back at the 1983 Beirut barracks bombings and the optional Mossad report, who in the end had been dealt with for that? Perhaps one of them became the current Minister of Defence for Iran (Hossein Dehghani Poudeh)? Yes, when it comes to terrorism and Hezbollah, we need to make certain that we have all the facts, so as we are told how bad things are in Yemen, we concur and do not disagree, but the 241 U.S. and 58 French peacekeepers who got blown up are perhaps sitting on a cloud wondering why France, the UK and the USA are talking to the current Defence minister of Iran. In addition, why a certain report from their ally Mossad director Nahum Admoni was just as easily cast aside and forgotten a little over 33 years ago.

I am merely speculating here!

So as we see certain changes in the alliance between Iran and Qatar, we see also that the game played there is becoming slowly but certainly a more hazardous situation, not just locally there, as Qatarians (or: stake holders from Qatar) seems pushed to sign over bank stakes to China (read: Chinese investors) we see that one wave is feeding another one, in what way? That I cannot really predict, the data is presently missing to make any speculation or assumption in that direction. What is a given is that the people with a seat at the table will be part of the profits when the Saudi privatisation waves hit and that is where actual power and wealth is handed out. An event that both the USA and UK are desperate to attend as it will dwarf what happened in Russia, the hundreds of billionaires created in Russia were nothing compared what Saudi Arabia will bring and the power players in the west hopes that those hundreds are friends of the west, not those embracing a strict Islamic way of life.

Greed is the eternal opponent of opportunity, never more so than at present.

So on that first day, who do you think will be trying to advise others on where to place their privatisation bets, it won’t be in Yemen, that’s for sure!

 

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A Christmas Carroll

 

This is one of those stories that don’t begin with ‘Once upon a time’; it is nowhere near starting with that. The reality is that such a beginning would make the actual events unreal, it would be like setting the editorial of the Times in the same place as the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum as stating that there was no longer a difference. The reality of the matter is actually a little different, you see the reality is “Sanity was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of the loss and funeral of sanity was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. The March Hare signed it: and the bunnies name was good upon ’Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. The Mad Hatter was as dead as a door-nail“.

It is the slightly paraphrased beginning of A Christmas Carol, in this story the lead is played by Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un. Yet at present we cannot tell who is who, so is the bunny Korean, or is that person just mad as a hatter? I cannot tell and I feel certain others cannot tell either. In all this, we might think that the Yanking matter is not crazy or in the sane mindset. We have seen enough from Donald to regard him as a Disney character of another kind. Now plenty of people will regard President Trump to be the sane version, to be the one on the moral high ground. And in regards to any ruling party in North Korea, he certainly is. Yet the event that are unfolding are uncertain, there are ghosts in play, just like Marley was the ghost to reckon with the soul of one close to utter deprivation of goodness, there is a play, it is fuelled in ways that should offend nearly every reader on the planet. News dot com dot au ‘hides’ behind “A FORMER ambassador to South Korea reveals how war could start in North Korea”. They are not alone, so as we hear doom say and nae say we are getting nervous, but the actual issue is subjugated by one word. The use of former gives rise that this person is only up to scrap to some degree, unlikely to the complete degree. So, even as a former ambassador has information to contribute, we need to put a question mark with every statement and the makers of that article did not do that.

One paper made mention of a clever play (by North Korea), others make mention of the time it takes for North Korea to lose. The issue is that as soon as even one nuclear missile makes it to ‘inflight: Warhead activated‘ everyone else loses. Japan and South Korea are the initial worst victims, but the fallout will affect the Pacific Ocean in a few ways. It took decades for the ocean to heal from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Let’s revisit the response by General Grover in a special Senate hearing. His response was “I am not a doctor. But I will answer it anyway. The radioactive casualty can be of several classes. He can have enough that he will be killed instantly. He can have a smaller amount which will cause him to die rather soon, and as I understand it from the doctors, without undue suffering. In fact, they say it is a very pleasant way to die“. Shall we try that on him? Actually, No! I would not want to try that on anyone. Unless you are at ground zero, vaporised in the moment, you will enter an age of suffering until the moment you die. Over the decades we learned much more and we know that there was ignorance in those days. This time around that ignorance will not be acceptable or be regarded with kind words. After WW2, Japan would grow a new class of people, the Hibakusha, more than 400,000 in fact. They were not illuminated as a result of the events, they were ostracised in Japanese culture, in Japanese life and by themselves.

Another fact often buried in several ways was “Two months after the explosion, the city’s total incidence of miscarriages, abortions, and premature births was 27% as compared with a normal rate of 6%.“, whatever will be fired now will be 1,000%-27,000% stronger than the two bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So when North Korea fires a live nuke, the devastation might not be one that any mind set in reality will be able to face.

When the bomber Captain Lewis of the Enola Gay was asked regarding his experience, the quote we now get was Well, Mr Edwards, just before 8.15am Tokyo time, Tom Ferribee — a very able bombardier — carefully aimed at his target, which was the Second Imperial Japanese Army headquarters. At 8.15 promptly, the bomb dropped. We turned fast to get out the way of the deadly radiation and bomb effects … Shortly after we turned back to what had happened. And there, in front of our eyes, the city of Hiroshima disappeared“, this was added by “I wrote down later: ‘My God, what have we done?’“. This was a person believing in ending a war, yet not knowing anything sincere about the bomb. Like many others who served in the 80’s, I have seen test firing of actual Atomic bombs (the movie the military made in the pacific) and I saw a replay of some of that in ‘the Day after‘ (1983). Yet, in a cinema, as part of a movie, our mind pushes away the issue of reality, the reality is however even more unsettling than any nightmare on Elm Street.

Now, North Korea has been playing a very dangerous game for slightly too long and we cannot fault the reactions by America, because there is a clear and present danger that stretches a lot further than we can comprehend, but is there a way to stop this?

This is where we see the impact of the lack of sanity, because no way how we characterise Kim Jong-un. The danger is too large. So, even as I refer to the statement from 1500 which gave us “Then they begin to swerve and to stare, and be as brainless as a March hare“, we state “Then he began to swear and stare, and be as brainless as a March hare. Such we see the man that is Jong-un“. In the other view we see “Working each day with mercury-soaked felt turned hat makers crazy“, so as the hatter was mad, we became mad because of the hat, all due to the lack of comprehension of how dangerous Mercury was. Now, we know better and all who know it should never play with the fire of fission.

Now the news escalates with every minute. The UK, Japan, China, the USA. They are all in a phase of planning, presenting statements and seeking advice. Yet the vulgar part is that as long as North Korea has placed nuclear solutions on the table, no one is safe and too much is at stake. In an age of cascading statistics only one fault gets us to watch a house of cards fall over and any card could hit a button under it making the events fire a blaze of radiation onto too large an area. The repercussions cannot be measured or correctly anticipated, because when one fires at least one other will fire. The question will there be two parties firing or will all others fire on the firing party, no matter what happens, the ecology around the events will change for decades, perhaps even forever. The bigger issue is not the USA or North Korea, it is Japan. They went through it once before, the reasons were very different, but the fear of what happened remains with the Japanese people, so when the missile goes live, Japan will face its ultimate fear for the second time and this time they were merely caught in the middle, and as for President Trump? His statement that ‘talks are not the answer’ is not wrong, yet it puts him on near equal footing with Kim Jong-un, one as the March Hare, the other as the Mad Hatter. Yet who is who?

The assignment on the person is not depending on the Tim Burton version of the movie. We need to move back to the age of Lewis Carroll and see why these two characters exist, some show the terms to be much older and it is in that comprehension that we see the wisdom of both characters. More important, when we see the external forces we might see that the actions of North Korea make sense in the most insane of ways. For decades that nation has been cut off from all levels of luxury. All levels of resources and when we consider the Human Rights Watch we saw in 2006 that North Korea was in a stage towards famine and in utter poverty (at https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/northkorea0506webwcover.pdf). Al Jazeera gives us in 2014 (at http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/03/n-korea-myth-starvation-2014319124439924471.html) no famine, yet a massive inequality. The quote that matters is: “It brings growth, but it also brings a large amount of income inequality and social tensions with it too. In spite of North Korea’s Stalinist rhetoric, North Korea is now a country in which there are rich and poor – and the gap between these two groups, already large, is widening quickly”. I believe that there is still a famine issue, but it is underground, or very much away from prying eyes. When we see that there was an average 800K Tonne of food shortage. Add drought and natural disasters and we see a curve that is not realistic. The question is how large a population died since then, now we get to the good stuff, you need to be insane to comprehend this. I believe that Kim Jong-un is steering towards a failed war; he wants to lose and move towards a luxurious exile, whilst the rest of North Korea collapses and they will all blame America and not their leader.

How wrong am I?

I am on the fence I hope in near equal measure that I am both right and wrong. If I am right, this entire stage we have seen lately was a last sabre rattling exercise, if I am wrong than we have a mad man with the finger on the button ready to die with whomever he can bring along for the ride of his nuclear missile. In this case I desperately want to be right, if only to avoid the idea of the enhanced dangers to the Sea of Japan, Japan and the Pacific Ocean. The simplest of reasons is that our ecology might not survive a megaton blast irradiating water and sea life. It would change our ecology forever and that is actually slightly too scary to me.

 

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Egotistic Uselessness

Yup, the news has been out for a little while, apart from North Korean rockets flying over Japan and breaking up in three parts, we have another issue to worry the people in Europe. There are now two additional issues. The first one is shown in the Express (at http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/846776/Brexit-news-latest-EU-Michael-Barnier-UK-security-Brussels-talks-negotiations-Theresa-May), yet there it is hidden as a statement of reference. With “Many Eurosceptic have interpreted the proposals as a call to create an EU Army” we see a reference to “The Eurocrat also backed a proposal from the European Commission to gradually combine EU national defences by 2025“, so the largest expense in most national budgets now comes with an added iteration of logistics on a European level. So, how was that EVER going to be a good idea? Is it another snipe at those following Brexit that their defence would suffer if they jump this shark (or is that these sharks)? The Independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/brexit-eu-military-planning-its-own-army-a7916371.html) gives us “the European Defence Action Plan has a goal of reversing around a decade of defence spending cuts by EU states“, so the EU is now setting a course to reverse defence spending cuts, and who is going to pay for all that? Where is THAT money coming from? Because I can tell you now that the nations are getting a hefty bill for whatever comes next, whilst we see a large increase in logistical needs, the overall efficiency of these defence ‘needs‘ will not be getting any better, they will get worse. With defence at present, they tend to be free of communication issues for the most. So, in this new setting, watching a conversation between Dutch General Middendorp, French Colonel Alexis de Roffignac and Italian Naval Admiral Valter Girardelli would become interesting to say the least. I could get rich selling popcorn at that event. It is not merely the language (we hope all three are fluent in one language and some of them will hope that the common language is not German). There is an issue with standards and setting of common ground, which has always existed to some degree between army and navy. No, the issue goes beyond soft skills, the diversity of the armed forces has hardware considerations as well, beyond the hardware (or lack thereof) we see that infrastructure is also a page never properly tackled within the armed forces in any one nation, so overhauling that will be costly on several fronts, which does not merely undo the cutbacks, it forces these defence structures to switch the ways the setting were, making the changes even more expensive. This means that we get a fake growth of economy from some providers, whilst removing provisions from exiting providers, skewing economy numbers and national costs even further, which would force nations in deeper debt. It is totally opposite of what nations should be achieving. So as we see the news from the express (at http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/840804/Brexit-news-ex-Macron-defence-advisor-EU-army-Britain), with the first mention of “‘Now the Brits are gone’ Ex-Macron defence advisor predicts Brexit to pave way for EU ARMY“, which makes Francois Heisbourg nothing short of a raving ‘loon’ in my personal view, the next quote gives us “The EDA, which is a tiny agency headquartered in Brussels, is headed up by EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini and is tasked with fostering military cooperation within the bloc. It has a minuscule budget of just £28 million, which has been frozen at that level as a result of British opposition to any expansion of its operations which could lead to the creation of a euro force“, the sheer idiocy here with ‘minuscule budget‘ is at the core. So how long until (with the removal of the UK) that number would be forced towards £28 billion? The need to rise this a thousand fold, and that is merely the overhaul of European defence logistics and initial alignment of communication hardware, software, encryption and skill sets. Oh and that gives us almost immediately the need for billions more and the alignment and shortage of skills would make these defence players the direct target of cyber criminals from the ‘playful education‘ (read teenagers), the ‘academic probing‘ (read Tech-Uni students) and ‘technological entrepreneurs‘ (read organised crime). The option of keeping data and Intel safe at that point could go straight out of the window. You see, there are a few levels of issues and I reckon the moment this starts happening is about the same time when we can download and admire the new ELF encryption system which is (are rumoured) some kind of block chain encryption method (connected to the new Barracuda submarine). It is a clever way to use SmartTags as the setting for the message; making it pretty much uncrackable as well as almost uninterceptable. Because no matter how you slice it, the present settings on defence communication makes it only interesting to try and hack all of it by some governments with the funds to afford such an approach (Russia, USA, China, UK, France and India), when these European players start uniting their solutions, the entire playground becomes a much more appealing field for a lot more players and this is not about merely the intel, when the interception starts, they would start to get access of third party players and where jobs are awarded. Other players would be aware of the decision of billion dollar jobs almost before the market had a clue and that is where speculators would gain a larger advantage, the sale of that knowledge will be rewarded with high bonuses. It is an entrepreneurial heaven for those with a lower setting to the ethical button.

The weird part is that people like Francois Heisbourg should be aware of that as he is also the chairman of the foundation council of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. This now implies that he is very aware of the need for stability and security, two elements that would actually diminish to some degree. Keeping that up beyond a certain level would require a lot more than £28 billion. Consider the smaller European players, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Estonia and Latvia. They would be required to adhere to stringent communication rules and equipment, and that is only the communication part. When we go towards supply and the need to adhere to some European standard, the reshuffle becomes truly a nightmare. So as we are ‘lulled to sleep‘ with the fact that I am (according to some sources) overreacting, we will see politicians making new speeches (read: rewriting prognosis of requirement) around 2022-2024, stating that to grow the efficiency of European defence, new changes must be introduced and that is where the list will become a lot larger than I am showing you now. I am merely showing the small places that have had their settled way of dealing with their defence. When the list becomes complete a few players will rake in the billions, billions none of the governments have and none of these governments have certain levels of skills at present. At present they have nothing (read: very little) to fear as they are just a small fish in the data world, when the national defences align they all become a target for data acquisition, far beyond they have ever been before. It will be a game changer on several levels and at present no one has the ability to counter what attacks them. You only need to look at the Sony, who again merely a week ago got hacked again. A company where digital security is their essential bread and butter, we see: “On Sunday evening, hackers claimed to have breached PSN and stolen database information. The group, named “OurMine,” was able to overtake Sony’s official PlayStation-branded Twitter accounts to announce the alleged hack“, so in how much danger will less enabled players be? The entire system of ‘open to a certain degree‘ engineering is the spinal cord of cyber dangers, it becomes a spinal tap of information and there would be a decreasing chance of stopping it, with additional chances of merely endangering its own systems, making the concept of a ‘Spinal Tap Hack‘ a lot more realistic in describing the danger it represents.

There is one upside, when it all collapses, these governments might make a deal with Alphabet to arrange for Google Cyber Security on all European nations (speculative sense of humour in action). So not only could we all have the same security, it might for once, for a short time all remain secure. Did I oversimplify the problem here?

Consider that part. What data has been secure so far and why was it secure?

Now consider what supplies have ever been safe? When we consider that in Portugal merely two months ago we see “Defence officials in Portugal say they are compiling a list of weapons and ammunition stolen from the national armoury in a brazen daytime raid“, so consider that Portugal has its own procedures, which implies to some degree that the perpetrators would have gotten some inside information, now consider that the EU nations will comply with certain procedures. How long until this stops being an isolated case and becomes a little more common place? You see, when we see “Defense Minister Azeredo Lopes described the robbery Wednesday at Tancos Air Base, 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of Lisbon, as a “very professional” job and a “serious” breach of security“, so when we consider the truth of it (and I accept it to be true), what information would these professionals have been given? There needed to have been some leak, because you usually cannot just enter an airbase and go snooping until you get lucky. The issue would escalate when certain security procedures become harder as there will be more compliance to certain standards. Of course there is still security, but as intelligence on certain matters become more ‘readily’ available, security becomes much harder and more essential, so any hole in any ‘fence’ would result in loss of goods. Now, when it is cabbages no one cares too much, yet when it becomes stingers, grenades, ammunition and weapons, will people stay indifferent?

There are the two largest issues and the fact that the ‘blasé‘ response from Francois Heisbourg with ‘Now the Brits are gone‘ is largely beyond short-sighted. A politician with Euro signs instead of pupils is the most dangerous greed driven threat to security that any nation could face. I hope that the EU-army players in this upcoming game wake up before it is too late and too much is spend on something that is as I personally see as largely counterproductive for any nations defence. That is merely my personal view and the current situation makes me regard the European Union as a collective of Egotistic Uselessness.

 

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To be mindful

We can have a go at President Macron and at this point, it seems more like kicking a man when he is down. His numbers are sliding and as the Guardian reported, they are now at: “Poll shows French president’s ‘dissatisfaction rating’ among voters rising to 57%, up from 43% in July“, labour reforms, housing assistance, it is all giving him a beating. The issue is not what he did wrong; the issue is what mess he inherited. Even as there was a chance that it could have fallen into the lap of Marine Le Pen, the people too scared gave it to Emmanuel Macron. There is clear realisation that France with a €2.1 trillion debt, its population in France would have to accept that hard times would be coming, no matter who had won. Francois Hollande had made THAT much a mess of things. So, France is dealing with a few things, the first is that the interest on the debt is per second more than a monthly income of a person on minimum wage, before taxation. The debt is growing that fast. To counter that labour reforms are essential to grow any level of economy. The UK has figured it out and is working on it, yet President Macron is unable to make any headway. Yet the article is not about that. It is merely the background for another matter that caught my eye. You see, the sad news is that RFI reported 12 hours ago that a French army volunteer took his own life. A young man dedicated to his nation and the security of the French people killed himself in his place of accommodation. This is about Operation Sentinelle!

You see, this event is more important than you might think. I know what he is going through; I get it (in part at least). The importance and the dangers is not because he volunteered, it is because he was not abroad. This is not some placement in West-Africa, Iraq or another Middle East placing. He was in France protecting the French. So this matters and if this is the beginning of a problem, it needs to be dealt with soon and fast. We often forget on the mental strain that any soldier of medical volunteer faces, even if there is merely the threat of danger. So when it is at the home base, it becomes a much larger issue as I see it. I agree with Colonel Brulon, who stated: “It is much too early to say anything about the reasons that led him to this extreme act“, whilst he added that an investigation had been entrusted to the gendarmerie, which is where it partially belongs.

I am stating partially, because the French Defence Health Service (Service de santé des armées) short named as SSA should and would be on top of this. It is important because the SSA findings would be important to other NATO nations. France might have been the most visible nation under attack, but it is not the only one and as such we need to know early on how isolated a case this is. I guess that Colonel Brulon would love to make a statement as soon as possible that it was an isolated case, but he can’t really, well can he? Operation Sentinelle involves 10,000 military troops and 4700 members of the Kepi Bleu (aka police or gendarmes). We know that the stress levels have been high for 2 years, which could explain part of it, yet there is little known of the soldier. Le Parisien gives us ‘a member of the 5th Combat Company of the 1st Regiment of Tirailleurs‘, yet not how long he served and how long he was on operation Sentinelle. We could normally wait for more information, but too many sides of any governmental operation are too often of hiding mental health issues and not deal with the problem face on immediately and that is where the problem lies. Colonel Benoît Brulon might overreact and give a larger side of Operation Sentinelle to the Kepi blanc (aka Légion Étrangère) yet that is equally a flawed plan as the cause of the stress is unknown and exposing the French population to the raw deadly power that is Légion Étrangère is equally not the best idea to go forward on, if only to consider the diplomatic escalated side of the matter. The second side is that there have been so far 6 attacks by French civilians on the deployed soldiers. Sky News gave us earlier this month: “Police have shot and arrested a man after he rammed his BMW into a group of French soldiers in western Paris before speeding off“, which is odd to some degree. My experience of the French people was quite different. Whilst in Orleans, in uniform I was suddenly hugged by two lovely French ladies, an always welcome salute to a summers day whilst admiring Orleans was quite the different experience, so I have seen on how friendly the French can be to their uniformed population, so for people to attack those who are actively protecting them is a bit of a weird situation. Yet, they are for the most either ‘extremist idiots’ or people with mental health issues, and there we get the issue in a little more clarity, we can dismiss the ‘idiot’ category. When a person comes to you with ‘I am here to die for Allah‘, he gets the short end of the stick because they are military units and those are not really there to arrest people, so when we get the quote “Man shot to death after grabbing the weapon of a soldier“, we can easily state that the man only had himself to blame. When it is a mental health case, in the issue of: “An Egyptian national visiting France on a tourist visa has attacked soldiers at the Louvre Museum in Paris with a machete, in what officials are describing as a suspected terror attack“, we have to wonder how sane the Egyptian was in the first place. The issue is now different. Any soldier, French or not has been (or should have been) trained to kill without reservation any enemy that threatens their life, yet when our brain tells us that this is not a real enemy, but a person with a mental health problem, are we still willing to kill just like that? For the most we are not monsters, we do not kill snakes because they are snakes, we optionally kill them because they are an immediate threat to our health and possible our lives. Now we get an entirely new situation, one that the army has never trained their soldiers on (read: never had to train them on), when placed in places of peace under non-wartime conditions dealing with non-combatants, how are they affected? Until directly attacked that person is not a soldier or a terrorist, but a person, that switch comes when the attack happens and the soldier under attack has now got to react as instructed, securing his life and protect the optional victims around him (or her). This is a muddy place where mental health issues could flourish, so the investigation into the soldier’s suicide will be a lot more important and a lot more essential than most people realise. France 24 gives us another side (at http://www.france24.com/en/20170810-operation-sentinelle-france-fight-counter-terrorism-working), with the quote ““It is essentially just posturing that has zero operational impact,” Jean-Charles Brisard of the Center for the Analysis of Terrorism told FRANCE 24. “Sentinelle has never stopped, prevented or hindered any terrorist attack in France since its creation in 2015.”“, yet he does not know that does he? Jean-Charles Brisard is a political player, one with extensive education and one who does know things, but how certain is he? Is a visual deterrent disproven? What evidence is there? It is possible (speculation on my side) that their presence has stopped several attacks, and attacks by mental health cases is all that remains, yet that is from my side and it is equally speculative. The question becomes can France take the chance of a busload of explosives getting parked next to the Louvre or the Notre Dame? Paris has a much too large dependence on tourism and its cultural heritage is packed together like a tin of sardines on a small area. It’s almost like assisting Dolly Parton to fit into a B-cup bra. It looks like a really nice exercise, but it is never going to work. Meaning that in the end, the risk factors will stack against the French military, because the extremists only need to get lucky once.

That is where one factor lies. 10,000 soldiers being aware that it is not that they win, but the fact that one failure could impact lives in France in an incomprehensible way. That is where the hidden stress lies. You see this is not an unknown. When we accept that ‘Setting goals too high – unrealistic goals can lead to stress, or lead to demoralisation‘ is giving us mental health issues. We might need to face that France has indeed been lucky that this is merely the first case and that it happened after 2 years. Again, this is speculative, but there is enough evidence to warrant this train of thought. If such levels of demoralisation leads to people giving up, and knowing that giving up is not an option for soldiers and perhaps even less so for volunteers (due to internal peer pressure), it is my personal believe that Colonel Benoît Brulon could be in much deeper waters than he has currently considered to be. He is facing a larger issue and the SSA would need to step up towards actual treatments and rotation schemes to deal with the growing pressures. Even if this is already happening, this suicide shows that there is a partial failure in place. In addition we have seen that in mental health, especially under the guise of goal setting that ‘excessively focusing on certain types of business goals can lead to competitive or unethical behaviour, or conflict in the workplace‘, so we can accept competitiveness to some degree, but when it comes to soldiers and armed individuals, when we get issues of ‘unethical behaviour, or conflict in the workplace’ we end up with an entirely different can of worms, those who are intelligent enough to see these signs, how will they react, perhaps their brooding and their inner conflict could potentially lead to depression and suicide. Again, this is partially academic speculation, yet there has been enough evidence in the past on several levels in several nations that it is a realistic danger.

This now gets us back to President Macron, not because of his approval ratings, but the issue that he faces (which got him the sliding approval ratings). The two elements that do impact the soldiers is one, to a lesser extent labour reform, because their setting is different, but the rotation approach could be seen as labour reform, and the second is housing assistance. You see, no matter which country you are in, housing tends to be an issue for everyone in the lower incomes and soldiers were never heralded with large pay cheques so that issue would still remain. We have seen how a homely place can help alleviate the pressure and stress. Having soldiers in barracks is one thing, but in such a place privacy becomes rare and the essential need to dissect peer pressure within the military is a much larger factor than most consider. Even as the peers accept such stress levels, we have seen too often that mental health issues are too scary an issue to deal with, people are too scared to deal with things they do not understand and fear that it will happen to them. Soldiers are no different here, so no matter what we can expect to read or be informed on, the focus will move towards the French Defence Health Services sooner rather than later, because it might be one suicide, yet history has shown where on acts, a dozen have at least contemplated the issue, so there is a growing concern, one that the French press seems to ignore for now.

 

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Mouseketeers are Go(ne)!

Yes, we are today looking at the four small people who seemingly form the three musketeers thunderbirds style. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/aug/03/four-men-given-life-sentences-for-plotting-lee-rigby-style-terrorist-attack) gives us a few items and it is interesting how the article does not mention certain items. They are Tahir Aziz, 38, Naweed Ali, 29, Mohibur Rahman, 33, and Khobaib Hussain, 25. Yet, ever as we see that they are from ‘the Midlands‘, yet we see no mention of any nationality. Is that not an interesting oversight? We see that two have met with Anjem Choudary, who is all about serving the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Yet here the Guardian remains down to the ground with a mere mention of Islamic State. The Daily Mail and the Stoke Sentinel are even less useful with their mention of ‘bought £20 samurai sword from Hanley sex shop‘, for the record, a samurai sword cannot be bought for £20 and the fact that a sex shop sold it is even more irrelevant. Here we ‘suddenly’ see ‘details’. The massive lack of facts is upsetting to me. The media is slowly becoming an increasing joke; in this even the Guardian needs to get scolded here! It is interesting as it was in equal measure that the opinion piece in the Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/07/anjem-choudary-hate-media-al-muhajiroun-london-bridge-terror-attack) gave voice to the issues with this certain social activist. It is the subtitle that gave us ‘Long before the attention-seeking al-Muhajiroun leader was linked to the London Bridge attack, Muslims despaired at the platform he was given‘. It is the start of the article that gives the goods that is one of many articles that tend to give the Guardian its value. With: “He wasn’t the infamous preacher of hate the media wanted him to be. He was a scrappy street agitator. Or, he was, until he got his big break“, we see that many see the difference, of what is truly an activist and what is merely a shouting bag of hot air. So as we see the four names with no nationality information, we see not merely the first issue, we see a collected set of facts not given to us, which in light of escalations in the middle east is important. For days we get the he said in Qatar versus they said in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt. These four might not even be any of those, they might be of Iranian or Pakistani origin, it is so interesting how the press suddenly forgot the catchphrase on people and the right to know. So even as “The UK Sun, the Daily Mirror, the Daily Express, the Daily Star and the Mail Online, tabloids prone to fits of sexism with some regularity. They all ran stills of Whittaker either naked or topless in earlier roles“, we see that according to what some laughingly refer to a journalistic integrity seem to regard the breasts of Dr. Jodie Who as ‘important facts‘ yet the full nationality (or nationalities) of the 4 with serious intent to blow people up, that part is not a given need, how revolting is that?

With the BBC giving us at least “They had attempted to join an al-Qaeda training camp in Pakistan in 2011“, we might imply (speculative) that they were Pakistani. Yet are they merely Pakistani with UK residency, or with Citizenship. These details matter! They matter because it gives light towards and weight into the issues of home grown terrorism. With their not so bright approaches we might not see them as actual dangers as assumed to be Lone wolf terrorists, but with the fact that plans were underway, there is a clear case. It is nice to see that MI5 was on the ball and prevented it all (which is always good to read), yet the issue remains that certain ‘unknowns’ should never be so. As for the upcoming political excuse that they might have been trying to protect ‘innocent Pakistani’s’ is not entirely invalid, but the people need to know where the dangers are coming from. Now in the end, there is not a lot that the people could have done, yet when we watch the news and we are confronted with the nations banned by the Trump administration, and in succession, when we learn that the many terrorists who made it to their intended nations of target are not from those nations at all. Pakistan was not on that list, was it? Neither is Egypt who still has their fair share of Muslim Brotherhood extremists and in equal measure the few people in Jordan who are now starting to embrace Islamic State? They have options to move to America, not getting banned at all. All this we see and none of it makes the news. I know it is important to see that the bulk of Pakistani’s are not extremists or have terrorist tendency. The issue is that the press is keeping us in the dark too often and they are losing both integrity and are no longer regarded as reliable when it comes to the news. In all this the politicians have their part to play as well and are directly responsible for some of it. If they had the balls to actually stop the tabloid from being GST exempt because they should not be regarded as ‘newspapers’ we might have seen an increase of reported quality of events and as such would have had a dampening effect on the levels of fake news and innuendo in their version of reported events (the version the tabloids give us).

The media has let the people down on a global scale and that has to stop!

At present several media sites are giving us more and more information on the fact that Islamic State is now trying to increase pressures by attacking the Iraqi borders with both Syria and Jordan, meaning that we all have additional responsibilities. As Jordan was one of the first and in addition has grown into one of the largest support pillars for Syrian refugees, we can no longer sit idle. According to the United Nations, the total number of Syrian refugees in Jordan has surpassed 5 million. The immediate danger is not merely disease, hunger and lack of basic needs to survive; it is the dangers that those joining Islamic State for merely a meal could topple the Jordan government in several ways. The moment that this happens Islamic State will be at the borders of both Israel and Egypt, whilst Israel will be required to send part of its army to the farthest region of Israel to protect Eilat, which would also place two basis of the MFO in direct danger. The Italian contingent who patrols the waters there could become a target as well as SCC4 a mere 8Km from Eilat could be changed into an Islamic State staging post, one that has a large radio at its disposal, so there are certain dangers to be reconsidered as I personally see it.

How realistic is all this?

That is the issue with the speculation I bring. As the news of Islamic State gaining strength in Jordan grows, that threat would be very realistic. So the direct need for the UN to step in and set a lot of goods to these refugees becomes increasingly immediate. In addition, the Jordanians have been under increased pressure to deal with the refugees (feeding them mostly), as well as the impact on their own storage of mainly water. It is high summer there now and water has always been scarce in Jordan. It is driving local tension up by a lot. Now, for those not in the know (a perfect valid situation) water was always a scarce item in Jordan, so the opening of the first desalinisation plant in Aqaba was a relief for the Jordanians, especially as the Jordanian population was set at 9.5 million, now add 50% to that population (the refugees) and you’ll see that water shortage becomes an almost immediate issue in Jordan. The UN has been trying to assign $4.6 billion for support to Jordan in January this year, that whilst some parties know that it is a mere 70% of what they need. In the end, I am not sure how much has been achieved, yet as the news made no report of any success, we can assume that to some extent there has been no success for now and to the larger extent, we see that there has been no achievements at all, which is an immediate issue. So it is not the worst idea to send 250 containers and fill them to the brink with C-rations. Now we have all heard the news on that history and I actually lived on those C-Rations for a few days (I enjoyed them). The issue is that there is no food (read: actually there is a large shortage); there is real hunger, so I would think that sending food that will not go bad immediately would be at least a first step to lower tensions to some degree. Now, I agree we can all do better, but at present NOTHING is achieved and instead of having the conversation again and again is merely a joke, something needs to be sent, it needs to be done now. In addition, getting 50 bladder tanks with water over there whilst we seek longer term solutions is also a requirement. All these actions show the refugees that even if not perfect, things are getting done (to some effect), which leaves the people with hope and that diffuses the Islamic State recruitment drive, which is what this was about. So as we see that the NY Times is stating that Climate change and the Islamic State are the greatest threats, one of them can actually be dealt with to some extent in the short term, so in this I now claim that I made an initial step to solve 50% of the World’s Largest Threats. I also designed the concept of a new video game, but that seems a little over the top after solving a threat the world apparently fears.

So even as the India West reported 2 weeks ago “Shivam Patel, a Hindu sympathizer of the Islamic State, has been arrested on charges of making false statements on his application to join the U.S. military. The Indian American told FBI undercover agents he wanted to do “something bigger, better, and more purposeful,” including “dying in the cause of Allah” to support the terrorist organization“, I found a simple way to deprive Islamic State from gaining a thousand of more recruits. In finality to get it actually done, some governments need to actually act on certain needs!

All this by being direct, outspoken and precise, all things that the articles regarding the 4 arrested terrorists is not being done by the media. As we see the list of newspapers grow whilst they all merely mention things like ‘UK Court Sentences 4 Men to Life Imprisonment Over Preparing Terror Attack‘, in one case I see “plotting “Lee Rigby-style” attack on police or military, referring to the murder of a UK fusilier, who was stabbed to death in London by two Islamist terrorists of Nigerian descent in 2013“, we see no such descent on the 4 perpetrators. Is that not a nice oversight, the fact that they ALL did it, whilst the verdict has been given, and the rest of their details are missing is a larger matter of concern.

You see, it is not merely about the ‘musketeers’ in all this. Like common cyber sense, people need to start evolving observational skills. You see, the need here is actually a double edged sword in more ways than one. For this I need to quote from the Israel Institute of Technology. With the course sharpening observation skills we see “Skill at discovering new ideas, and delivering them, may be one of the most important practical job skills, in today’s and tomorrow’s job market. Creativity is an acquired skill, one that improves with practice. This course aims to empower individuals who believe they have lost their innate creativity, because they, their employers or teachers prefer the three R’s: replication, repetition and rote, to innovation” we see that there is a need to become more creative all over the UK, whilst the skills would also be the way where we start noticing the things around us that do not make sense. The UK government is relying on https://www.gov.uk/terrorism-national-emergency/reporting-suspected-terrorism to get there, but there is a larger flaw in the path currently in place. Too often the people are not aware because they were kept in the dark. Now, this path will means that it comes with leagues of incorrect reports, but in equality reports would be coming from places that were previously not flagged by the Police and/or MI5. As I see it there is a growing need that students as early as Year 12 where they start to be taught the observational skills that could lead to unforeseen innovation, it is the one need the UK has an actual dire shortage of. I have always and will always believe that the true innovator is merely around the corner as he/she did not consider something. When we see people like Jack Ma, David H. Murdock and Richard Branson, none of them ended up with any A-levels, but they had an idea, they noticed a need and as such they got cracking and are now on top of the world. These are three extreme, there are thousands more who got to a much higher point than most of us (including surpassing me) because they were observant to the need of those around themselves. It is this skill that is actually not taught at all (or at times incorrectly), often because it is not a business subject, yet the art of observing is in the foundation of resolving issues on EVERY level. It is a skill that should be harnessed for the upcoming generations, because it is the first one that gets the bacon and the niche market. It is that growth that we need and as such, it is equally a skill that helps prevent the larger harm to others becoming a success by all the unknown upcoming musketeers that are currently still at large.

I would offer as a thought that if the data offered by the news and other sources can no longer be regarded as reliable; we will need to learn to find the truth, the data and the insight ourselves. This thought is merely a thought, yet it needs to be taken a lot more serious than you think. In finality that evidence is seen through the Bloomberg article (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-25/u-k-s-terror-insurer-says-new-threats-create-gaps-in-coverage), you see, as I see it, the foundation of a stable life is becoming more expensive. With ‘U.K. Insurers Told to Adapt to Lone-Wolf Terrorism‘ we see “the view of Julian Enoizi of Pool Reinsurance Co., the U.K. government-linked body that backstops insurers against terror-related payouts. The spate of recent attacks in the nation’s capital and the suicide bombing of a Manchester pop concert in May highlighted shortcomings in coverage that need to be addressed, he said” it partially makes sense, yet I remember that in my policy there is no payout due to damage from unlawful combatants (or a nuclear explosion for that matter). The quote “Broadening cover would mean higher reinsurance premiums for Pool Re’s members, which include the local units of every major non-life insurer from Allianz SE and Aviva Plc to Zurich Insurance Group AG” gives rise to issues like premium rises, because as there would be payouts to lost earnings whilst there is no damage is one that insurance companies are dealing with and in fairness it has in impact on them. So as we see that insurances are evolving, e ourselves need to bolster new skills, not in the least to alert the right parties to take action and prevent serious losses to ourselves. Is that not fair too? You see let others solve it all is fine, yet if you remains ignorant to the largest degree is your anticipation of safety through ignorance valid? It might have been in 1969 where the greatest danger for a man in a park was a confrontation with a woman seeking love and sexual satisfaction whilst sharing a joint, those days of innocence are definitely gone, yet to us, we have not been asked and educated to step up to the plate. Many merely limited to be trained for a workforce of deadlines and the facilitation of greed. Now we see that the removal of creativity and the contemplation on the paths of innovation come with a much larger deficit. We can no longer meet the changed need and we move into the blame game. We see people blaming the police, because it happened, they blame MI5 because there were signals, whilst the people tend to ignore the optional part whether Jeremy Corbyn could be a larger threat to the UK than Salman Abedi was. In the end, it will be for others to decide. Yet if the people had better observational skills, is there a decent chance that the police would have been better alerted to the danger that Salman Abedi became? If the UK is valued at 68 million people, should the thwarted danger be merely dependent on 127,000 police officers and the 4,000 members of MI5? Or is the increasing need of properly informing the 68 million people and teaching them how to spot danger a much better solution as the years pass us by? If the world becomes more and more polarised in the application of terror and mass casualty methodology, is depriving options not a much better solution? Consider the simplicity of fighting fire. You do that by removing the fuel (flammable objects), depriving growth by not allowing it to breathe freely (replace oxygen with CO2) or covering the danger (powder extinguisher), lowering temperature is also an option (drowning with water). There are plenty of options yet it requires a clear mind and a trained mind to act. As we get Jordan the water it desperately needs we lower the temperature and the stresses that come with it, as we make sure there is food, the flames of hunger remain absent and as we are trained to spot things we allow for the actions to come earlier and prevent the damage to us and what is ours (generically speaking). Yet trained to spot things is also at times dependant on getting all the information and getting properly informed, so now consider the newspaper title I mentioned earlier. The mention of ‘bought £20 samurai sword from Hanley sex shop‘, has a few more implications. When you consider the BBC (at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7331099.stm), the press did not inform us that any people from the shop were arrested, especially in light of “Legislation against selling, making, hiring or importing samurai swords in England and Wales has come into force. Those breaking the law face six months in jail and a £5,000 fine“, so as we assume that the sex shop did not have a receipt informing us that they sold Tahir Aziz a 24 inch Japanese steel dildo, can we assume more arrests will be made in the very near future?

I am merely posing this question for your consideration, have a great weekend all!

 

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Your GCC resume

Qatar remains in the news, some are looking at the $5.9 billion deal in Italian dinghy’s, others look at the cancelled deal to become an American Airlines stake holder and others like me are focussing towards the GCC futures. According to the Defence minister Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah this setting is not in an increasing danger. The problem is not merely the GCC in itself, it is what you will not see in many newspapers, it is the overhanging impact on OPEC. The news given by Oilprice.com is “All GCC countries depend on stability in the oil and gas markets, which is evident from the recent OPEC deal. A full-fledged confrontation will, without any doubt, put pressure on the current compliance rate of OPEC members to production cuts. Doha will be able to sabotage the current 6+3 production cut agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC members. If Doha decides to join the ranks of Iran and Iraq, OPEC’s future will be in doubt” it is at the very end of the article (at http://oilprice.com/Geopolitics/International/Clash-Between-Qatar-And-The-Saudis-Could-Threaten-OPEC-Deal.html), yet that in itself is not the bacon maker, or if pork is taboo, it is the lamb to the slaughter. When we see: “The Arab criticism may have been less harsh if U.S. officials would not have put oil on the fire. U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis openly warned Qatar that it should change its support of the Muslim Brotherhood. Mattis also stated that U.S. president Trump is considering classifying the Brotherhood as an international terrorist organization, which could have a very negative impact on the U.S.-Qatar economic-military cooperation in the coming months“, this reflects right back to the pressures that the American players where trying to establish through pressuring the WTO issues as written yesterday (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/08/02/a-big-tree-in-the-desert/). Another source (Leaprate.com) gives us the links to Iran and re-elected Hassan Rouhani. Here we see “America’s new-found protectionist outlook and open contempt for the JCPOA, has put a question mark against its future, while Iran’s ties with Qatar, currently the subject of embargos by many neighbouring states, is a further concern for investors“, this is the part that most do not get informed about. Partially the US has a valid point as the previous president of Iran was openly waging war towards the US and against the state of Israel. The dangers as I gave them years ago, especially in the light of the nuclear treaties is not how good or how reforming the newly elected President Hassan Rouhani was, it is the issue about the next person, who will get the presidential trophy in 2021 and what happens then? This is the long term worry, most will agree that one extreme leader on the edge of insanity is good enough and keeping that person in North Korea is for now the best place.

Yet, that was not what this is about, when we consider that the JCPOA (also known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), we see the given by Ali Akbar Salehi with ““After JCPOA, our oil production has soared from 1 million barrels per day to 3.9 million bpd,” IRNA quoted Salehi as saying on Sunday, two days after the two-year anniversary of the action plan. This marks a success for Iran’s oil-based economy in reclaiming its market share lost over the years of sanctions“, the issue is that this directly opposes OPEC with “All GCC countries depend on stability in the oil and gas markets, which is evident from the recent OPEC deal. A full-fledged confrontation will, without any doubt, put pressure on the current compliance rate of OPEC members to production cuts” for the UAE and Saudi Arabia that is a problem, as Iran has increased its production by nearly 3 million barrels a day, the other players have to decrease even more, which means that they are hurting well $150 million a day or we will see the pressures shift all over the Middle East, which is not good for America (or the UK for that matter), because that impacts what Saudi Arabia can buy, and the monthly $4.5 billion is partially for the hardware delivered and expected before December 2017, so as these sales paths are impacted, we will see a level of hurt all over the weapons of mass consumer requirements market.

So we have valid and greed driven concerns regarding Iran, in this the Qatar issue does not help and the play that the US is making as we see it should not be considered as a beneficial path. No matter how valid the present situation is as we see it given through the Russian Academy of Sciences, Stanislav Ivanov is giving a present truth with “The main line of Tehran’s policy is to get out of sanctions and gradually restore its economic and financial potential“, we do not deny this, yet the past decades was about setting the pressures to Iran as the western nations had to deal with extremism, in addition to the funding that Iran gave Hamas as it kept on attacking the State of Israel, there are ample issues in all this as the strategic setting before 2021 (Iranian general elections) could face the US, Israel and Western Europe with an economic revitalised Iran, which will be pushing the players back to square one if that seat will become the sitting arrangement for another Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which is not out of the question.

When that happens, those with a GCC resume, with or without references to OPEC might wonder where their employability resides. Now, if they have been smitten with a 7 figure annual income, they might not care, yet those without that part for at least 4 years might need to scrape by, having to live on $40K a month for the rest of their lives. I can advise these people that it can be done, if they shed the 4 luxury cars (Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati and Bentley), give up their membership in the Yas Links Golf Club, Almouj Golf and The Majlis, Emirates Golf Club as well as their 4 bedroom apartment in Riyadh and they are already half way there. So how serious is this? Well, it is actually a lot more serious than most people realise. When we consider that the GCC is a realistic target for cyber-attacks and cyber terrorists, Raytheon is setting up technological barriers to thwart to some degree these plans. the issue is not what the presentations give, whilst we do not oppose of attack the stance that CEO Thomas Kennedy has, the quote (source: Raytheon) “It has since reinforced its cybersecurity capacity with the purchase of 14 companies. In 2015, it acquired a company called Forcepoint (previously known as Websense and Raytheon|Websense) to enhance its commercial presence. This is now the world’s second-largest privately-held cybersecurity firm. Raytheon recently secured a five-year, $1bn contract for the US Department of Homeland Security to help defend “.gov” websites from cyber-attacks. Now the goal is to bring that working knowledge to the Gulf” is merely showing a deficit in the technology. Acquisition is a partial solution to any cyber given industry, the given premise to survive is not what can be bought today, but what must be developed for tomorrow. You see the firms that have that focus tend not to be for sale in the first place. Whilst Raytheon’s focus is very valid to catch up, it is much less a solution for those who are arming themselves for tomorrow, their own missile system department can teach them that part. It is not merely about the technology, it is the development of new systems in cloud and non-repudiation that will give the GCC and other gulf places the edge to be ahead of the cyber-attack curve. A partial issue is found with “We have one of the best data-leakage protection systems in the entire cybersecurity field, and we combine this with our insider-threat behaviour system, which detects suspicious activity and ensures IP and data is not compromised“, which might be non-false, yet the events as Sony has seen shows that the reflective comments are from a behind the wave assessment, with HBO being an example as they were hacked a few days ago. The one provider that relies on cyber security as it sells its value through Netflix is now giving Vanity Fair “When Netflix was hacked earlier this year, the cyber-criminals behind the attack demanded a ransom. But there was no such demand in the hack that struck HBO over the weekend, and the sheer amount of compromised data has led some to believe that video footage, internal documents, or e-mails could be leaked next. The premium-cable giant is working with the F.B.I. and cyber-security firm Mandiant to investigate the breach, in which hackers claimed to have stolen 1.5 terabytes’ worth of data“. This is what Raytheon is up against, not some access issue, but stopping the drain of terabytes, basically every part of the GCC removed in mere hours, whilst the cyber minders were in the dark until after the event and the quote that follows (at https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2017/08/hbo-hack-seven-times-larger-sony) “A traditional business-grade D.S.L. link would take about two weeks at full blast to exfiltrate that much data,” Farsight Security C.E.O. Paul Vixie told T.H.R. “If not for video and sound, a corporation the size of HBO might fit [entirely] in a terabyte, including all the e-mail and spreadsheets ever written or stored.” Another expert added that the entire Library of Congress contains an estimate of 10 terabytes of print material—so it is almost certain that video and/or audio were stolen“, this directly reflects on Raytheon. It is not what we know it is what others have figured out that is the issue. Whether it was through frame leaking, through cloud replication, there are issues that remain non-secure, even as security is at the top of the salespersons mind. There is a need for a new designed system no longer merely on access, but on ‘bio wired’ non-repudiation that is driving the need for evolution and these sales forces have remained in denial as it is something that they cannot offer at present, so they reflect on it as being a non-solution, a non-reality. They stick to the solutions that they can sell now and that is where the GCC finds itself, the lack of visionary evolution of data systems.

So when Raytheon gives their next presentation and someone at the GCC asks “How can we assure that the Bolero electronic Bills of Lading are not stolen or corrupted?” what happens then? Will that person at GCC need to write his resume tout suite, or will his superiors realise that the question was valid and that this situation is an immediate threat to the GCC members? Because in this day and age where extremists are all about the attack on infrastructures, the Bolero Title Registry, the repository and application that manages the transfer of title of the eBL is a clear weak point. Ones the recipients are scrapped and the cargo gets locked down, the ship will have two issues. The first being that the ownership cannot be transferred, you might think that this could be solved in a few days, and that would be right. The direct consequence is that the transfer of oil stop would cost an additional $578,000 in port charges, twice the amount in addition for pilots and towage fees. And as they are moved around additional costs will be incurred, that is apart from the issue that the delays bring and when a visionary does find the way to reset ownership, the delivery of 1 million barrels comes down to a nice $50 million fee, that optionally went somewhere else.

The one place where cyber security was essential is as given in indications running behind and not catching up; the only way to do that is to get ahead of it all. Now, as stated, this is not an attack on Raytheon, this is merely the direct issue on the business need to set serious cash into evolving the new systems to be ahead of the curve and be in a state where the hackers learn that it is not merely about access, the nice part of adding a new ‘language‘ to the plot is not to delay their invasion, it become to take away their comprehension of what they see (hopefully for longer than short term). You see, I have loved Cisco solutions, but they all talk the same language and their precise documentation have been a real assist on those with no-good intentions, we merely need to ask Google ‘what does a cisco frame look like?‘ and we get so much information, enough for too many to get to the heart of the matter and in the early stages of the internet that was a really good thing, we need to move beyond certain settings and push towards dedicated systems that have additional layers of protection, now that might be a mere delay, yet consider what is being protected. How willing are you to keep data safe? Not merely oil data of ownership, in the age of Netflix whilst hackers are streaming the episodes by the dozen, depriving places like Sony and HBO from valid revenue, revenue they invested in, the game needs to be changed. We have seen the uselessness of some governments as they were facilitating towards the communication sellers on bandwidth; we need to change the game regardless of those players. One way to do that is remove their existence to impact. Google did that to some extent, but not to the extent needed. As we realise that providers are 15 dimes to the dollar, we need to set a different scope, not merely in the cloud, but in the need for dedicated non-repudiation. Only then can we make a first effort to push the boundary towards a safer zone. And perhaps Raytheon will bring that to the table, the fact is that we do not know the player that delivers the need of tomorrow today, we merely know that it will not be Beaker bringing it (a Muppet Show reference). In this the ‘evidence’ can be seen when we realise that Raytheon gives us John D Harris II and his view on how forward thinking Talon laser guided rockets are. Yes John this was really the need for Cyber safety! As we consider the issue beyond point-to-point communication. In addition the $100m development program reads sexy for your bonus, yet the issue is data, both at rest and in transit. There are the issues, not in the rocket man shooting by a member of the UAE air force. So as we moved from certain parts of the GCC, via Iran to other providers, we need to see and comprehend that there are several players, all with their own agenda, a perfectly sound and valid situation, yet when we see that stability is centre in all this, destabilisation will impact both the GCC members, the OPEC members and when the overlap is shown (those in both), we need to realise that Iran and Iraq will not care about the needs of the GCC, they are not part of that, which ties hands of the six GCC players and in that Qatar is the centre of the seesaw that the 6 members prefer to have in some level of balance, yet the issues as we are seeing them escalate will impact all the given needs for all the players having their ‘own’ needs to satisfy. None of that is likely to happen any day soon. We could see the US and both their needs towards JCPOA and the WTO as an opposing issue, one that is not beneficial to the GCC or the Qatar issues as they are playing. I cannot say what the GCC members should do next, but it seems to me resolving some parts and creating a new initial balance is the best way forward. This gets me back to the question phrase yesterday. If each of the 4 members could phrase one issue to resolve by Qatar, what would that be? If Qatar can get the conversation started on that, as merely a first show of good will, yet from my point of view, if they Promise to have a good look at Al-Jazeera and do some immediate reforms there as a first step of good will towards the four opposing parties, it might just be enough to reduce tensions and give time for non-escalations to settle and as such forward momentum in resolving issues will be found. In my view it would leave Qatar in a much better view by all other players and global non players. It will open the doors and perhaps that is a good beginning, merely a good beginning, but more than we have now.

And none of this, none of my views were set to painting any of the players as the bad people, merely a path to find the track towards profit and growth, profit for all the players and economic growth for all of them. In all this the one question that is forming in my mind is that Oman has been the one GCC member that is outside of the equation to some extent, could they be a mediating party in all this? I actually do not know the answer; I am merely voicing the question that I have not seen in the news. You see when you realise that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been the driving force behind Vision 2030, the economic diversification strategy. Is that something that a nation like Oman could see benefits in, when we consider diversification, when we realise that this impacts range of products as well as field of operation. Would it not be interesting how this view could be beneficial to the Middle East as a whole? In all this, as the driving force surpasses boundaries, is that not a field of economic diplomacy to see it grow? To push forward momentum is to find a place and subject of discussion, in my view it would be to find a topic many can agree on, a topic that is always a hard sell in most occasions and it seems to me that oil dependency is always a good option for those realising that it is the only thing they offer, by adding more options, any nation connected is merely opening paths to more stability and more opportunities, especially when these paths can be sold to nations seeking more than oil, which is close to every nation on the planet. Finding a place of stabile growth is the best product any player is ever likely to sell. In this stability is a lot more sexy than quick gain, especially on Wall Street and they are having too often too much to say on that matter. As we need a different language in the cyber world, it is clear that outside of that world a common language is the only solution. The question becomes what language and how to start the conversation, even those setting up their GCC resume right now. That is a fact as it is a resume that they want everyone to read, a comprehensible common ground is the first step in this.

 

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A big tree in the desert

It started a little while ago, 4 nations got angry at Qatar, I wrote about it earlier. There were issues on both sides and there were intelligence considerations as well. In this Germany intelligence decided to shed light on the matter by investigating certain sources. A path I reckon that until now has not been too successful. A path that was equally a given not to be too successful, yet what was not expected was the issue shown a few days later when on July 16th The Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/uae-hacked-qatari-government-sites-sparking-regional-upheaval-according-to-us-intelligence-officials/2017/07/16/00c46e54-698f-11e7-8eb5-cbccc2e7bfbf_story.html), the issue shown with “The United Arab Emirates orchestrated the hacking of Qatari government news and social media sites in order to post incendiary false quotes attributed to Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, in late May that sparked the ongoing upheaval between Qatar and its neighbors, according to U.S. intelligence officials“, in addition there is “In a statement released in Washington by its ambassador, Yousef al-Otaiba, the UAE said the Post article was “false.”“, which is to be expected. Finally we get “Qatar has repeatedly charged that its sites were hacked, but it has not released the results of its investigation. Intelligence officials said their working theory since the Qatar hacks has been that Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt or some combination of those countries were involved. It remains unclear whether the others also participated in the plan“, which is an equal truth. In addition, we need to realise that this is not some fake news site, this is the Washington Post, America’s answer to The Times, and its high ethics in journalism have been established for the longest of times, so when we see a mere 2 hours ago (at http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/qatar-diplomatic-crisis-latest-updates-170605105550769.html) the update “Foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt say they are ready for dialogue with Qatar if it shows willingness to fight ‘terrorism’” a quote given after we see the headline ‘The latest news after some of the Gulf states and Egypt cut ties with Qatar and imposed a land, sea and air blockade‘, yet in light of the found hack(s), how valid are these blockades? In addition we see in regarding the Hajj pilgrimage that Qatar and Saudi Arabia are in a he said versus he said situation, a side we would not have expected from these two evolved nations. There is a larger drawback in all this, as Turkey is trying to ‘ingratiate’ their own agenda, they are now becoming a stronger middleman for anything Iran has in mind, whilst not being connected to the action and in addition to that, the pressures at present are also enabling abilities in Palestine. There is no clear intelligence that is in the open that should be regarded as reliable, yet the ‘watercooler chats‘ seem to imply that calls between the PSS and Hezbollah wave allegedly been happening with some ‘regularity’ in the last 4 weeks, if that is so, than additional pressures on Israel cannot be far away.

Back to Qatar, the latest news gives that according to Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary of State that Qatar has met with the commitments that they were promising, there is a given that when Saudi Arabia, in conjunction with three allies that are not the smallest, any nation under pressure would be willing to comply with any reasonable demand that does not impede national pride to get in the way. Yet, what has the opposition offered at present? In my view the German promise seems unlikely to result to be any form of a working tactic to get some kind of resolution in play. You see, if there was any actual support being given, it would not be registered. I hope that the Americans learned that part when they found Osama Bin Laden a mere one mile from an elite Pakistani military academy. In my view there is no way that those involved with the security there had no knowledge of EVERY building within two miles of the academy. In that same air, you might think that Qatar is aware of any terrorist involvement, that is not the case, but there is ample proof on a few levels that it is utterly impossible that no one knew. The issue becomes how high does it go?

In that same light we need to look at another source. In this case I am looking at a piece by Sami Moubayed. The title ‘Qatar PR blitz is fooling no one‘ (at http://gulfnews.com/opinion/thinkers/qatar-pr-blitz-is-fooling-no-one-1.2067427) is not the part that matters. We might wonder why he focusses on the amounts like $150,000 a month for ‘research, government relations, and strategic consulting services‘, which might also include ‘communications with members of Congress and Congressional staff, executive branch officials, the media, and other individuals‘, the second cost at $2.5 million for former US Attorney General John Ashcroft who would be auditing Qatari efforts at halting terrorism funding. It is interesting how he is going to achieve that as the scope of monitoring and verification is close to impossible when we consider the rogue spears we have seen in Iran in the past, a mere general was able to give the largest level of materials and support towards the enemies of Israel. In this I saw that over that they missed out on options to increase visibility of close to 75% for a mere $10,000 a month (excluding my commission mind you), in light of the mentioned $138,000 not the greatest expense. Yet the important truth is given soon thereafter in “This is where the problem started and where serious work needs to be done to rebrand the country’s political orientation. No PR firm can do the job — it can be done by one person only, being Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani“, which is only partially true. They still need a facilitator to give a wider voice, or better spoken a channel to transfer the words of Shaikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani to a much wider audience.

Sami is right when he states “Only he has the power to change his country’s image in the eyes of its neighbours“, and in this I am not even mentioning his valid reason of “All Qatar needs to do is walk away from Hamas and Yousuf Al Qaradawi“, which would have been a good idea any day of the week. Qatar has a few more options, options that they did not even realise that they had. There is a case to be made to revamp Al Jazeera TV’s editorial policy. Yet as it is speaking to the hearts and minds of Muslims (to a larger extent), I would not be able to give proper advice in that place, what does matter is that non-Muslims know what Al-Jazeera is, yet in reality those people do not know what EXACTLY Al-Jazeera is and that could be a small task, easier rectified and it starts on their own website. Not the flaccid minute under the heading of ‘about us‘. That current part of 200 words with the ‘Who we are‘ is so minute, so none telling that is overlooked with the mere blink of an eye. The words there “Launched in 1996, Al Jazeera Arabic was the first independent news channel in the Arab world dedicated to providing comprehensive news and live debate“, is laughter incarnate in my personal opinion! I am willing to bet a building on the fact that their 1996 was a challenge worthy of a small novel to say the least, so why not properly introduce Al-Jazeera to Muslims and non-Muslims alike? If Al-Jazeera is truly in 100 countries, the cheapest of solutions (read: SAP Dashboard) could add visibility to what is being offered, the network could grow through offering visibility using a mere BI consultant, which in all likelihood is already walking around in at least one of their 100 offices. In similar visibility they are presently (as their website indicates) not in France or the Netherlands, and perhaps at least in one office in one of the Scandinavian countries with the ability to offer local language support to thousands of Muslims. To the extent that this is PR that is massively cheaper than some PR offices offer and that is something Qatar would have in their own hands, working a social network with localisation. Interesting that that was not mentioned anywhere.

My ideas are directly reflective of the words of Sami Moubayed as he states “Somebody needs to whisper in the ear of the emir — and senior management at Al Jazeera — that they need to do a better job to polish their image; rather than spend millions on agencies in London and Washington, it’s far more urgent — and less costly — to do the job at home“, yet he does it in absence of directness or direct ideas on how to do it. I reckon that is fair enough, the man is a historian; he mostly lives in the past, not in the tomorrow. That is not an accusation; it is merely a factual realisation.

In this, the strongest point he makes is seen with “After a wave of agony swept the Arab World since 2011, this doesn’t sell any longer throughout the region. In fact, it sounds and reads as cheap, cliché, and very outdated“, this is exactly why the entire dashboard is such a step forward, I noticed a few more issues. There would be a fair debate whether this is laziness, or mere editorial policy. A case could be made for either side, yet the issue remains.

As we say goodbye to the Al-Jazeera side, we need to embrace one more part in the article by Sami. When we revisit the title ‘Qatar PR blitz is fooling no one‘, I will argue that there is no fooling going on, the article reads nice, but it is not an ‘or’ situation, Qatar is in a ‘and’ situation, where they need to visit issues on inclusion and finding more options to visit, not choosing from some selection and there is a need to be clever about it because the cost and effect of $150,000 a month needs to be examined as how it was spend and what was gained. The question on rebranding politics is also up for grabs, is it about branding or making sure that the visibility is correctly vetted? These elements are not the same and the cause and effect here is also implicitly seen as we see the reactions from the 4 neighbours currently not happy with Qatar. In this, there is an additional part for me set in the issues from Saudi Arabia. I have not read the original reports (and my knowledge of the Arabian language can be rounded upwards towards 0%), yet the press on a near global scale have never given proper item by item view of all the elements, more important towards the evidence as the other 3 (minus the hacking UAE) have offered them with shown source intelligence. It would be so embarrassing if the other three plaintiffs are all depending on one and the same source (an unknown part and speculative from my side). I believe that open clear communication is a first step to resolve it. the fact that my glasses got initially tainted because Al-Jazeera was kind enough to start that day with voicing anti-Semitism through  broadcasting sermons by the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, that was not a good day for Al-Jazeera in light of the stresses in Doha that day. This is exactly why reforming, or better stated editing the ‘powers to be’ within Al-Jazeera sooner rather than later.

For me, I have always been a fan of oversimplifying any issue, so when I look at the grievances now in play, if there could be talks and the three nations can name one item that would show the good intentions of Qatar, what would it be and could Qatar comply with these three items? You see, it might sound oversimplified, but the reality is that all large achievements start small, one step at a time. In that way, we are not enabling either Iran or Turkey (there are issues with some of their decisions), there is an open view of the matter at hand and there is movement in a stress reducing direction. If those three items would stop the blockades, there would be a first step in resolution and more important, as I personally see it, the risk of escalation, as two nations miscommunicate between two optional dinghies and send missiles in the wrong direction is definitely a good element to prevent. Consider the implications, if we see the choice from King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Would the biggest issue of his kingdom be with the dissidents or with the Iranian connections?

I believe that certain actions are becoming increasingly important, not merely because of the pressures and stresses, the short term issue is seen as we read “The boycotting countries have previously told the WTO that they would cite national security to justify their actions against Qatar, using a controversial and almost unprecedented exemption allowed under the WTO rules” (at http://www.trtworld.com/mea/qatar-crisis-latest-developments-413572), the problem here is that if this element is accepted, the WTO is not merely a cannel of facilitation, it would leave Qatar with very little to work with, it would in addition leave Turkey with holding the bag as the shops are showing in big signs ‘From Turkey by air – New products‘, if those remain Turkey itself ends up in deep hot waters with all the repercussions that follow. As my Law classes included all matters Wise, Terrible and Obvious, the words as given in Forbes (at https://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2017/03/01/trump-admins-yugely-terrible-trade-idea-to-ignore-wto-rulings-america-doesnt-like/#7edfa5103a9f)

With: “Not obeying WTO rules allows countries to close their markets to your exports, it doesn’t force them to open them up“, that would be a stage with issues on several levels we really don’t want to end up at.

This also gets me to the article for another reason. The March 1st article shows more than you expected. You see with “The Trump administration sent shockwaves through the world of trade yesterday when the Financial Times reported that it was looking for ways to bypass the World Trade Organization, the 22-year-old oversight body that adjudicates trade disputes, and which Trump has called a “disaster.”” we now get a second consideration, is the Trump administration using the Qatar strategy to try to thwart the WTO in another way, trying to take away the equality and fairness that the WTO had in the past to set a different set of rules. Did the White House legal team brief the four non-Qatari minded players to use this to put more pressure on Qatar? It might be a valid tactic, yet the US could have had other reasons for pushing the WTO, the question is whether that is equally in play here, if that is so (speculative from my side) than it is the US that has done more than increase pressures on Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain and the UAE. It is trying to change the global setting of trade in what I expect to be the most selfish of reasons, under those conditions, we might soon see that being a member of the EU is no longer a benefit, as it would become the anchor holding the other EU nations back in trade, merely for the reason that they cannot simply change trade rules for the EU.

So if Doha means Big Tree, we have to wonder what the board looks like at present, it seems that certain actions have been put into motion to set a season of drought for this big tree. We can argue that they did part of it to themselves, yet when we see that other players have had certain personal needs, who is actually trying to resolve the situation with a total absence of personal selfish needs? As I see it not the PR firms, in equal measure there are certain steps that Al-Jazeera could have put into place months ago, yet that too has not been achieved, so who on the side of Qatar is actually thinking of Qatar? I know it is not Turkey or Iran. I do not know who is, but as we see other sources state that “In a study by David Andrew Weinberg that was published in January by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) titled “Qatar and Terror Finance: Part II: Private Funders of [al-Qaida] in Syria,” he wrote: “Based on these cases, there is no persuasive proof that Qatar has stopped letting certain terror financiers off the hook.”” (source: Jerusalem Post), we see that Qatar needs to start considering what is important to Qatar, because in the end Hamas will not care, they merely continue with their path of hatred against that state of Israel with whatever funds they can lay their fingers on. With all the considerations we would want to give to Qatar, it is the actions of Qatar, shown by too many sources that they themselves are becoming (read: have become) their own worst enemy. The one question that Sami Moubayed leaves us with is any of this done (read: facilitated) with the clear approval of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar? That is the part that matters the most and that path also shows the path of least resistance in hopefully finding a solution to the matter for all the players involved.

 

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